Eric Holder knows that the only way he can save his job is by currying favor with the media, which is exactly what the embattled Attorney General is doing. The question is, will the media once again cave to the wishes of their beloved Obama administration or do their jobs and demand a full accounting from an out-of-control Justice Department on a chilling rampage to intimidate journalists and their sources?
Yesterday, the Daily Beast embarrassed itself with a Holder profile so glowing and so obviously aimed at tamping down the media’s frustration with him, that even BuzzFeed’s left-wing Ben Smith raised his eyebrows over it on “Morning Joe” Wednesday.
We also learned Wednesday that Holder has already set up meetings with various representatives from a number of print and television organizations to discuss how the DOJ will handle leak investigations in the future.
During his Congressional testimony two weeks ago, Holder didn’t seem at all contrite during questioning about his department’s role in the seizure of phone records from the Associated Press. In fact, the Attorney General came off as cocky, bored, and peevish.
Holder also didn’t even seem terribly fazed after it was discovered that he was the one who signed an application for a warrant to seize the private emails and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
What has come out since, though, has obviously knocked the smug out of him. The House Judiciary Committee is now investigating Holder’s statements during his recent testimony. It seems that Holder’s statement about never hearing or having anything to do with attempting to prosecute a journalist or reporter doesn’t quite reconcile with an application that accused Rosen of espionage. A perjury charge could be forthcoming.
What has to worry Holder the most, though, is that the revelations surrounding the Justice Department’s hysterical actions toward Fox News have not elicited the kind of reaction from the mainstream media that Holder likely expected. The media hates Fox News almost as much as the Obama administration does, but only almost.
Rather than let their political hatred and envy of Fox News’s success turn into a Get Out of Jail Free card for Holder, the media has instead rallied around Fox. This means that once Congress is back in session next and the hearings into the Justice Department begin, the press coverage could be very bad for an Attorney General who up till now has been zealously protected by the media in scandal after scandal.
The Huffington Post has already called for Holder to be fired. If the rest of the mainstream media jumps on board, Holder is toast and Holder knows this. More importantly, so does Obama. In short, Holder’s fate and legacy will be decided by how the media collective chooses to cover this scandal in the coming weeks.
So starting as early as Thursday, Holder is going to attempt to charm and convince the media to ignore their duty, circle the wagons, and play goalie for him just one more time.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC